NCAA Football 07 Review
Recently I've been getting more into college football. I've always followed my favorite college team but in the past few years I've branched out and started enjoying practically all college games. They seem to have more passion and fun than the professional game. Yet I hadn't been that interested in playing video games that represented college football. Until this year. Maybe it was my disappointment that EA secured exclusive rights to the NFL, I'm a huge fan of developer and company competition and didn't like seeing that taken away. Whatever the reason I was really looking forward to NCAA 07 and I am happy to say I was not disappointed once it showed up. Read on and I'll let you know more...
To me the biggest difference in professional football and college ball isn't the level of talent, though that difference can be tremendous, but rather the enthusiasm and love for the game that the college game shows. While it would be impossible to totally capture the excitement of actually being at a rivalry game like Alabama vs Auburn or USC vs UCLA, NCAA 07 Football for the PS2 comes close with features like the Momentum Meter, crazy crowds, and shaky camera angles. There is also a new Campus Legend mode that I really got into. For those that have played the game in past years you will still find the Dynasty Mode, solid controls, and tons of plays with many being unique to each school.
One for the biggest additions is the all-new Momentum Meter. This tries to add the very real aspect of momentum to the game and succeeds to some degree. There is an on-screen meter that shows which team has the mojo going and how much of it. As you build up your team's momentum good things will start to happen and at an increased rate. Basically big plays are what affect the meter. Say you throw an interception that is run back for a touchdown. Expect to see the meter take a big swing toward the other side. But if you run a successful trick play that will fill up the meter on your side. Once either team has all of the momentum that team will get raised attributes thus making them a better team. Now it will be easier for that team to break tackles, make diving catches, and cause turnovers. And, of course, every time you do something cool that will keep the big Mo on your side. This can become a little unfair at times and makes it very difficult to get back into a game once you lose the momentum. I had a game where I got all of the Mo at the start of the 4th quarter in a tight game. Once I got it there was no stopping me. I was returning punts for TDs, causing fumbles on kickoffs, returning those fumbles for TDs, breaking runs of over 70 yards, and just generally becoming unstoppable. I scored more touchdowns in that 4th quarter than I did the rest of the game combined.
Another addition to the game is the Campus Legend mode. The idea here is to create a player coming out of high school and control his collegiate career and do so in a way that will get you voted into your schools hall of fame. This means that you can't just excel on the field but also have to have a healthy social life and be a good academic student. In an interesting twist you have to pick a major for your athlete and this can be just about anything from NCAA mascots, to chemistry, to US history. Each major will increase a different set of attributes and I chose history not because I'm any good at it but because it added points to the attributes I was most interested in. Then I proceeded to get suspended for the biggest game of the season because I let my GPA slip below a 2.0! Yup, you have to actually keep track of your grades, take quizzes on your major, and even a mid-term and final exam. Neglect your study for too much social activities and you will be sitting on the bench instead of playing out on the field. I thought this was an interesting balancing act and it doesn't take long to get the hang of it. And you might even learn something while playing! Anyhoo, the goal is to balance your studies, football, and social activities in such a way that after 3-4 years (3-4 because you can turn pro at the end of your junior year and export your player into Madden 07) at your school they will elect you to their hall of fame.